Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe

Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe

Former princely residence donated to the South African National Gallery by Count Natale Labia. Iziko Museums of Capetown divide into three branches, this being the art collections site. The art collections are in three museums, the S. A. National Gallery, the Michaelis Collection and the Natale Labia Collection. The Casa Labia Museum has a collection of furniture and art housed within a building designed to emulate the spirit of 18th C Venice. Temporary exhibitions of decorative art are presented quarterly. Also acting as a cultural centre which archives old editions of Bonani, the museum's quarterly newsletter.


The Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe, housed in the former residence of Prince Labia, is now a satellite of the National Gallery and houses a superb permanent collection as well as a stream of interesting temporary exhibitions. This museum also functions as a cultural centre. Hobbies & Activities category: Decorative arts display; Furniture display; Paintings, art collections.

History of Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe:

This museum was presented to the South African National Gallery by Count Natale Labia in 1985 in memory of his parents, Prince Natale Labia (1877-1936) and Princess Ida Louise Labia (1879-1961), the daughter of Sir Joseph Robinson.

Count Labia donated the furniture and a collection of works of art to the museum for its permanent display area on the ground level, where the original character of the reception rooms has been retained. The upper level was altered to accommodate temporary exhibitions, lecture rooms and working spaces.

The house was designed in 1928 by Frederick Mackintosh Glennie (1889-1952) and completed in 1930. It was built as the Italian Legation in South Africa, Prince Labia having been at the time appointed First Minister Plenipotentiary in South Africa. Because of his family's links with Venice, Prince Labia tried to reflect the spirit of 18th century Venice in the building. The furnishings and decorations were imported from Italy and the interiors created by Italian craftsmen.

This museum functions as an art museum and cultural centre in the south peninsula. Temporary exhibitions ranging from jewellery to miniature interiors, from art glass to fine art are presented quarterly. Lectures, concerts, poetry readings, pottery workshops, drawing classes for adults and children, and technical demonstrations are organised throughout the year.

Telling Stories Exhibition

All the selected works tell their own stories. With some, such as 'The death of William the Silent' by Joseph Israels (1824-1911) the story is clear, whereas in others like 'The China Piece' by John Henry Amshewitz (1882-1942) it is ambiguous.
John Henry Amshewitz (1882 -1942), 'The China Piece' (detail), oil on canvas.
John Henry Amshewitz (1882 -1942),'The China Piece' (detail), oil on canvas.

In the painting 'The Nuptials of Samantha' by Frederick Hutchinson Page (1908-1984) the narrative is, in fact, left deliberately obscure. Other works on the exhibition, like 'Long Afternoon', by Wim Blom (b. 1927), while not having an obvious narrative thread, almost invite the viewer to create his or her own story.

Selection of works

Robert Edge Pine (1742-1788), British
A Lady and Her Child   Donated by Count Natale Labia
A Lady and Her Child
Donated by Count Natale Labia
oil on canvas 1245x1005

Louis Tocqué (1696-1772), French
Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora   Donated by Count Natale Labia
Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora
Donated by Count Natale Labia
oil on canvas 940x740

Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven (1799-1881), Dutch
Goats (1847)   Donated by Count Natale Labia
Goats (1847)
Donated by Count Natale Labia
oil on wood 434x567

School of Van Dyck
Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I   Donated by Count Natale Labia
Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I
Donated by Count Natale Labia
oil on canvas 660x500

F.O. Adreini, Italian
The Three Graces   Donated by Count Natale Labia
The Three Graces
Donated by Count Natale Labia
marble 915

Interior Views of Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe

drawing room
drawing room
ballroom with Andreini's Three Graces, 1988
ballroom with Andreini's Three Graces, 1988
breakfast room with School of Van Dyck's Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I
breakfast room with School of Van Dyck's, Princess Mary, Daughter of Charles I
dining room
dining room
exhibition hall The
exhibition hall
The "spine" constructed to link the temporary exhibition space with administrative offices and the public lecture room

Hours:

Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 16:00

Admission:

Entrance Fee: Free

Parking

limited parking is available opposite the museum and a few hundred metres towards St James (past Sunrise Mansions). Parking on the south-west side of the building, a wheelchair, as well as access to an elevator and toilet, is available for disabled visitors. Also has museum cafe.

Contact Natale Labia Museum

Visiting Address:
Casa Labia Cultural Center and Cafe
192 Main Road Muizenberg, 7945 Western Cape, Cape Town
South Africa

Postal Address:
PO Box 61, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: 021-788 6068
Fax: 021 788 6067
Email: i...@casalabia.co.za
The Natale Labia Museum On The Web: http://casalabia.co.za/

Gerard Sekoto, Senegalese Women, c. 1966 gouache. A Natale Labia Museum Collection


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